Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tirunelveli Thalagam Kuzhambu | Thiruvathirai Thalagam Recipe | Gluten Free and Vegan Recipe

Tirunelveli Thalagam

Hi Supermoms,

It is simply amazing the way all our festivals and poojas are linked with food. Every Indian festival has certain foods that are specially prepared on that day. Food is offered as 'Neivedyam' ( offering to God) and then shared with everyone and the joy doubles. What fascinates me every time is the way the recipes for these special occasions have been created. 

They have been formulated keeping the changing seasons in mind and preparing our body with the right nourishment . Wholesome and tasty . The first special occasion in January is the Tamil festival " Thiruvathirai" also called as "Arudhra Darisanam". You can read all about the festival here.

Thiruvathirai Kali , a sweet preparation made using roasted broken rice and moong dal is served along with a tamarind based curry called as Kootu or Thalagam . These dishes are so traditional and I am so grateful to my Mother- in-Law and Mother for so patiently teaching me their recipes. I can tell you that both of them have their own unique touch and a slight difference in the recipes also. I have been learning little tips and tricks to make better kali and kootu and I do not hesitate to call  both my mother and MIL just a day before the festival to get their recipe, even though I know how to make it๐Ÿ˜ƒ. 

This year, I did not call them to get their tips. All special tips along with detailed recipe for the Thiruvathirai Kali and Thalagam/Kootu was shared by one of my favourite person in instagram Mrs. Shanthi Ramachandran ( I fondly call her Shanthi didi) . She also clearly shared the difference between Thanjavur Ezhu Kari Kootu and Tirunelveli Thalagam. Shanthi didi's passion for cooking can be seen in all her instagram posts and she selflessly shares all her recipes with every one. One can literally smell the deliciousness . I am so fortunate to have connected with her in real world also and was more than thrilled to cook her thalagam for this Thiruvathirai. She shared that this Thalagam is her mother's recipe and  you can imagine how old, traditional and authentic it is. 

Shanthi didi ( @shaanthram)
In Tirunelveli District, the spicy side dish that is served along with Kali is called 'Thalagam' . The spices are first well roasted and ground into a paste. The vegetables are chopped into big pieces and cooked in the tamarind water along with salt. Once the vegetables are cooked, the ground paste is added to the vegetable mixture and the entire gravy thickens. The Thalagam is thicker in consistency, but you can adjust it according to your liking. 

Tirunelveli Thalagam Kuzhambu

Tirunelveli Thalagam Kuzhambu | Thiruvathirai Thalagam Recipe :

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time : 25 minutes 
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

Vegetables for the thalagam ( all chopped into large pieces) : 

I used these vegetables
1/2 cup yellow pumpkin/kabocha squash 
1 long brinjal 
10 flat beans/lima beans 
1 small drumstick ( optional)
1 small sweet potato or half of a large one ( you can chop with the skin)
1 carrot 
1 small potato
1/4 cup fresh green peas ( shelled) 

Other ingredients :

Indian lemon  size tamarind ( soak in 1 cup of warm water and extract juice)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder 
salt to taste

To Roast and Grind :

7 dry red chillies ( I used salem gundu milagai )
2 tablespoons channa dal/bengal gram
1 teaspoon sesame seeds/til 
1 cup fresh coconut ( grated ) 
1 teaspoon coconut oil ( or oil of your choice)

For tempering :

2 teaspoons coconut oil
3/4  teaspoon mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves 

Method :

1. Heat a kadai ( small wok) with oil and roast each ingredient given under 'to roast and grind' separately till they are golden and fragrant. 
Chef tip : Adjust the spice levels according to your family liking. You can add more chillies if you like your thalagam more spicy. 

2. Transfer it to the jar of a mixer and grind it to a coarse paste using 1/2  cup water and set it aside.
Chef tip : Instead of regular water, I added coconut water ( from the fresh coconut I broke to make the thalagam).

3.Add the juice of tamarind in a heavy bottom vessel along with another two cups of water , turmeric powder and salt  over low flame.

4. Add all the chopped vegetables into the tamarind water, cover and cook till the vegetables are soft.
5. Now add the ground paste and allow it to cook for another 5-7 minutes.

Chef tip : If the thalagam becomes too thick, you can adjust water quantity.
6. Switch off , temper and add it to the Thalagam Kuzhambu. 

Your delicious Thalagam is now ready to be offered as neivedyam/prashad along with Kali

Tirunelveli Thalagam Kuzhambu

Happy Cooking !

With love,


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